Content is the biggest crowd-puller today. All of us are plugged in most of our waking time, in fact about 18 hours a day. We are either on SMS, Whatsapp, YouTube, FaceBook or television. Now, you may think content is only the written word, no, in fact, it can be graphics, text, audios, videos and a lot of other stuff that we regularly read, watch or listen to.
“Attention” grabbing content drives the market for any business. The average attention span of a millennial today is around 8 seconds and you have exactly that much time to either make or break your content. The move of the millennial consumer from traditional media to a digital one has made big businesses make the shift to digital marketing with a judicious mix of the traditional. Take any big brand like Apple, Nike, BMW, IBM or AT&T; they have moved online, maybe not 100%.
Going ahead, in this consumer-driven economy, you being a content creator, have a huge market to cater to. You will have to make viral marketing a part of your website marketing strategy. The only condition is you will have to prove yourself first. How will you do that?
By marketing yourself! Yes, to begin with, can you write, sing or produce content that can go viral? Doubtful? Understand the following tips and check if you have it in you to make it big.
Tip 01: No need to go ballistic: You may not be made of “hero” material, don’t fret.
You may read an awesome post in Huffington Post and compare your writing skills or you watch Jack Reacher and begin thinking about the equipment that has gone into making it. Content does not go viral because it is published somewhere or distributed by Paramount Pictures.
No, you don’t need to relearn your language or spend a million on equipment. Viral content starts with appeal. Forget the HD quality, Dolby surround and the MS-Office suite. Focus on the subject and make it engaging. Quality, need not take a back seat, however, it is secondary to the actual content’s appeal. You can write that text on Notepad or shoot that video with your Smartphone.
You may have seen past instances when bad content succeeded through excellent promotion and good content went down for lack of it. If you are creating content for the internet, you need not worry. Moreover, the audience has learned to see through and the trend is on the descent, so don’t spend time fretting over it.
Tip 02: Take the cue from experience: Learn from others. Replicating success is easier.
Spend some time on FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social platforms. Make sure that you spend more time on the platform where you want to publish your viral content. Go back to posts that have been published in the last 6 months and you will find that some posts get thousands of likes and shares while some just lie there for the sake of occupying space.
Identify the audience and analyze why they performed as they did. Analyse the content, read listen or watch to ensure you understand it thoroughly. Create a comparison sheet and check why you would be the audience for some content and not for some. You will get a fair idea of what content touch-points to address.
Tip 03: The Social Angle: Social media is the best platform to publish, without a doubt!
Social media is the most content sensitive media available. Before you leap into creating your content, think, what influences a reader, listener or a viewer to share your content? The content should compel the audience to share it. People will share your content only if:
- It makes them feel good.
- If it invigorates them emotionally
- Appeals or touches them
- Adds to their learning – personal or professional.
This does not mean that you write or narrate conspiracy theories or extremes since that could give you a hard time promoting the content. The content you intend to create should have a mass appeal, period. Think engagement and attention.
Tip 04: Titles & Headlines: Headlines make or break content.
Create titles that tell the audience about what the content is about, don’t beat around the bush. Headlines are important. If you feel you are unable to come up with one, here is what works best. Take some help and get it right.
A title is an insight into the content you are creating and should not mislead the reader or viewer in any way. If the audience does not like the title, or if it does not create the appeal, your content is already dead. So, make sure that your title is appropriate as well as appealing.
Tip 05: Don’t waste time: Time is of the essence; especially when everyone is plugged in.
Do not waste time with niceties and introductions. As I mentioned earlier, the audience attention span is less than 8 seconds and you have to engage in the first 2 seconds. You can start with something like “Hey friends, I am Anil and we will learn this...” Now that you have engaged, you have to keep the audience on their toes all through.
Create your content interweaved with unexpected surprises and appeal to emotions. Come on, you are trying to create viral content and not a research paper.
Tip 06: Crispy content: Crispy works all the time.
Do not create content that beats around the bush. It happens only in the movies. On the internet, engagement and attention span are far less and keeping it neat and simple will help you engage the audience effectively.
Keep your videos to less than 2 minutes and text in small paragraphs. This will help you keep the attention span and promote your content better.
Tip 07: Sequels: Sequels work in movies and they work on the internet too.
Sequels are a great way to keep promoting your content, both old and new. Video and text sequels ensure that the last set of audience revisits your present publication. Ensure that the sequels are as interesting as the original. They should not be a let-down like most Hollywood ones.
Do not create sequels for the sake of marketing. There should be a logical flow of information or story in the sequel; otherwise, you will end up losing the audience for future promotions. It is a tightrope to walk, only ensure that the rope is strong enough.
Tip 08: Partial content: No dividends for partial, disconnected or misinformation.
For the sake of creating sequels, do not offer partial content in the original text or video. This will fall flat on its nose. Think through your message and create accordingly. Rocky Balboa can fight another day but Rick Blaine meeting the married Ilsa Lund in Paris after Casablanca might not work that well.
Tip 09: Network: Needless to say networking is crucial to marketing.
Before promoting viral content, your social media personality might need a little push. Check your profile on social media account, especially the one you want to promote your content on. Ensure that it is clean, complete and clear before thinking about promotion.
It will be a good idea to have a large network which does not mean adding people you do not know to your network. It is only an indicator that larger the network, better the chances of your post going viral. Creating a good network takes time, hope you have worked on that if not, it is time to begin.
Tip 10: Promote, promote, and promote: No content goes viral without promotion.
Irrespective of what gurus say, no content cannot go viral on its own, however good or bad. It needs to be promoted first before it spreads on the network. The promotion will depend on the platform.
For example, on FaceBook you can promote your content by sharing with groups and pages that host related content. All you need to do is to identify those and send an appealing message.
Now that you got the basics right, going viral will not be a major challenge. Don’t expect success with your first post. Check your analytics and think through. After all, it is a process of improvement and discipline like any other success formula. Keep at it!
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